10-16-19 These evidence-based strategies may turn the tide on domestic violence
Deaths due to domestic violence have surged in the UK. Evidence suggests that a mixture of programmes to switch attitudes and help violent men change can help. DEATHS from domestic violence have hit a five-year high in the UK, with 173 people killed by a partner or relative in 2018. The newly published figures have been labelled a “national travesty” by women’s support groups, who are calling for urgent government action. “We know that these are not isolated incidents or one-offs,” says Lucy Hadley at Women’s Aid. The UK government has promised to tackle this violence through its Domestic Abuse Bill, which was introduced by former prime minister Theresa May. During its second reading this month, May said it would be important to “identify the programmes that work” before it is subjected to a final vote. But how do we know what is effective? Most domestic violence is committed by men against women – but not all. There are also examples of women hurting male partners and violence between same-sex couples. In the UK, about three-quarters of victims are women. Domestic violence is a problem beyond the UK. In Australia, on average one woman a week is killed by a current or former partner (see “graphs”). In the US, more than 1500 women were killed by their partner in 2017. Between 17 and 25 per cent of women in all three nations say they have experienced abuse at the hands of a male partner. Obtaining evidence on the best ways to stop domestic violence is difficult. People who participate in studies may be too scared to report abuse, making data unreliable. Nevertheless, we are starting to get a sense of what helps, says Michele Robinson at Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety. Domestic violence interventions conventionally involve criminal penalties for perpetrators and counselling and shelter for those affected. Now there is an emerging focus on trying to stop the abuse before it happens, by reshaping “violence-supportive beliefs”, says Robinson.
10-12-19 Why I went public about being raped, 67 years later
Prominent Ghanaian journalist, BBC columnist and former government minister Elizabeth Ohene recently wrote about her experience of being sexually abused more than 60 years ago, when she was just seven years old. Here she explains why she decided to go public after such a long time. I am not quite sure I had considered what the effect would be if I went public with the story of my having been sexually molested. Last Wednesday, I told that story in the weekly column I write for Ghana's largest circulation newspaper, the Daily Graphic. I am a 74-year-old woman and I was recounting something that happened 67 years ago. One of my best friends - male - asked why I had chosen to unburden myself onto the rest of them. The story, I am told, makes difficult reading. Therefore, if I have been able to keep it to myself for 67 years, why was I now telling it, why did I not take it to my grave? I am not sure I wanted to unload my burden onto an unsuspecting public. I had decided ages ago that I had a responsibility to tell this story in the hope a young girl somewhere would be protected from suffering what I went through. Maybe I should first tell the story and then I will attempt to see if I can explain why I have told it. Back in 1952, I was a seven-year-old, happy child living with my grandmother in our village. One day, a man, who was a family relation who lived next door to us, dragged me into his room and sexually molested me. I have a difficulty with the terminology to describe what happened to me. At the time, I cannot say that I knew what he had done, I did not have a name for what he had done, I did not even have a name for the part of my body that had been violated. All I know is that he pushed his very rough fingers and cracked finger nails into my vagina. I don't remember what, if anything he said, it is the overpowering smell of his body and his rough fingers and cracked fingernails that stay with me to this day, 67 years after the event. Today I know what he did and one of the frustrations I have is that social norms do not allow me to describe exactly what happened and I am reduced to saying I was defiled or sexually molested. (Webmaster's comment: Another victim of the hundreds of millions of victims of males brutes!)
10-11-19 Broken marriage
A man sexually assaulted a bridesmaid two days before his Sept. 1 wedding and was caught in the act by his fiancée, yet their wedding went ahead as planned, prosecutors alleged this week. After a day of heavy drinking while rafting down the Delaware River, the wedding party returned to their hotel, and Daniel Carney’s fiancée asked him to help walk her drunk friend inside. Security footage allegedly shows Carney, 28, pulling the woman inside the men’s locker room; Carney’s fiancée entered the locker room 20 minutes later and chased him out. The victim remembers waking up with her bikini bottoms off and Carney on top of her. Hours before the wedding, Carney texted her asking her to “just be happy” for the bride. He said in the message that they didn’t have sex, but he asked if she could take Plan B contraception “just in case.”
10-8-19 Luc Besson: French film director denies rape allegation
Luc Besson, one of France's best-known film directors, has denied raping or drugging a young actress. Dutch-Belgian actress Sand Van Roy accused Mr Besson of repeatedly raping her over a two-year period. An investigating judge reopened the case last week, eight months after prosecutors dropped it, following a new complaint by Ms Van Roy. Mr Besson dismissed her as a "fantasist", although he admitted having had a relationship with her. Speaking publicly about the claim for the first time on Tuesday, he told BMFTV that it was a "complete and utter lie". He added: "I have never raped a woman in my life." Ms Van Roy accused Mr Besson of raping her at a hotel in Paris in May 2018. But the original investigation ended when Paris prosecutors said there was not enough evidence. Eight other women have spoken to the French investigative news website Mediapart and accused the director of sexual misconduct. There are few details about those claims. The statute of limitation on some of them has been reached, the website said.
10-7-19 'Sex for grades': Undercover in West African universities
Academic institutions in West Africa have increasingly been facing allegations of sexual harassment by lecturers. This type of abuse is said to be endemic, but it’s almost never proven. After gathering dozens of testimonies, BBC Africa Eye sent undercover journalists posing as students inside the University of Lagos and the University of Ghana. Female reporters were sexually harassed, propositioned and put under pressure by senior lecturers at the institutions – all the while wearing secret cameras. Reporter Kiki Mordi, who knows first-hand how devastating sexual harassment can be, reveals what happens behind closed doors at some of the region’s most prestigious universities.
10-4-19 Al Franken returns to the public eye
As disgraced former Sen. Al Franken returns to the public eye with a SiriusXM radio show, a ninth woman emerged this week to accuse him of sexual misconduct. Speaking anonymously with New York magazine, the woman said she was working for another Democratic senator in 2006 when she met Franken, then a comedian who was mulling a run for office. While posing with Franken at an event, she says, “He puts his hand on my ass…I’m just frozen. It’s so violating. And then he gives me a little squeeze on my buttock.” She says she didn’t speak out before Franken resigned last year because she feared “raising my hand against a powerful man” would endanger future job prospects.